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MediPines is Revolutionizing Respiratory Medicine with their Non-
CEO & Founder
Interview conducted by:
Bud Wayne, Editorial Executive
Published – March 28, 2021
CEOCFO: Mr. Lee, you are systems engineer, tech entrepreneur, CEO of MediPines and co-
Mr. Lee: My interest in respiratory physiology was sparked when a family member experienced a debilitating respiratory illness. To me, respiratory impairment detection was sort of like a “black box,” where with the traditional tools that were available, they (physicians and clinicians) had to go through a long process of elimination, which is a very painful experience for patients and families. I felt like there was no objective way for physicians to precisely determine respiratory impairment, so I set out to design and build a device that would take the guesswork out of respiratory medicine. This personal journey led to meeting Dr. John B. West, who became an invaluable contributor to the creation of the AGM100.
Dr. West is a world-
The AGM100 is the world’s first FDA cleared respiratory system that non-
CEOCFO: Why the focus on respiratory medicine?
Mr. Lee: Even before the COVID-
This rising tide of respiratory diseases was, in part, due to the pre-
So, we believe that innovation in respiratory science and technology is paramount in medicine today. That is why MediPines was started, to help advance respiratory medicine.
CEOCFO: Has the COVID-
Mr. Lee: Yes, the COVID-
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your AGM100 gas exchange monitor and how it works?
Mr. Lee: The AGM100 was designed to rapidly detect gas exchange efficiency, which is the primary function of the lungs. It offers comprehensive gas exchange analysis information through a simple 90-
It helps provide answers to essential respiratory questions. What is the patient’s blood oxygen level? Is ventilation adequate? Is gas transport from the lungs to the blood efficient? And what is the source of impairment? These are hard questions a clinical team needs answers to, right away, when they are faced with time-
The output parameters are immediately actionable to an attending healthcare team. It is used to rapidly assess patient respiratory status, support triage, titrate interventions, and quickly determine response to therapy.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an idea of the dimensions of the product?
Mr. Lee: The device is portable, and the monitor is about the size of a tablet computer. It is small and typically placed on a rolling stand so that it can be moved across many departments in the hospital. It is a spot-
CEOCFO: How are hospitals and doctors currently checking respiratory measurements? Are there any similar devices available today and if so, what sets the AGM100 apart?
Mr. Lee: The main way that clinicians currently check for similar respiratory measurements is with an invasive blood sampling method – what’s called an “arterial blood gas” (ABG). It does provide what is happening to blood oxygen levels but does not inform you about what is truly going on inside the lungs. On top of that, they require expensive equipment, and a specialized staff to maintain and keep them running in a hospital. Most importantly, it introduces pain to the patient, that often-
They can also do a lung x-
So, while there are invasive or intrusive measures available, there’s not an option that is easy and non-
In terms of the accuracy of blood oxygen levels, studies have been published in medical journals such as CHEST, which show that the blood oxygen level (gPaO2) provided from the AGM100 correlates extremely well with the PaO2 on an arterial blood gas method in a wide range of normal and clinical situations. A number of scientific papers published by a global team of scientists have demonstrated the accuracy of the AGM100 measurements and the near one-
CEOCFO: Where is it in use currently, such as hospital emergency rooms or physicians’ offices? Could the current model be used in ambulances, senior care facilities or long-
Mr. Lee: Yes absolutely. If you think about the small portable pulmonary lab in a box concept, the utility is quite broad. Right now, major customers are hospitals and hospital systems, like integrated delivery networks. The first adoptees within the hospitals were typically emergency and respiratory groups, but we are quickly learning that our device is expanding through different areas of the hospital, all the way to the patient discharge space, where right before the patient is discharged, they would take a measurement. There is broad applicability because respiratory medicine cuts across multiple departments within the hospital.
There are also emerging segments like post-
CEOCFO: Is there a pediatric application?
Mr. Lee: Right now, the AGM100 is FDA cleared for use only in adult populations. However, significant potential pediatric applications are being explored because our device is non-
If you think about respiratory issues, it cuts across elderly, as well as children, so we believe the pediatric application will be very important. We are working with Children’s National Hospital in Seattle and UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the Advanced Single Patient Breathing Circuit and how it works with the AGM100?
Mr. Lee: The advanced breathing sampling circuit was specifically designed for optimal patient breathing gas sampling. It was designed to detect the presence of respiratory gases with a high degree of accuracy and reliability, reflecting the full range of possible air flow dynamics in gas sampling of all patients, especially sick patients. Because we take continuous measurements of expired partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide gas, that is PO2 and PCO2, it has to be very comfortable for the patient and convenient for the clinician to operate. Construction-
CEOCFO: Are you currently exploring upgrades, enhancements, or changes to the AGM100? Could there be other models on the horizon? Do you still currently have a heavy R&D spend?
Mr. Lee: We continue to work on furthering our platform, with a number of enhancements in our R&D pipeline to further advance our technology for better patient care. Another important area is developing what we call “macro-
CEOCFO: Is price an issue when it comes to your products? Is it a one-
Mr. Lee: We have a competitively priced one-
We have an incredibly innovative solution that is greatly improving current respiratory care, as evidenced by such great hospital adoption. Our analyzer is very affordable to providers with a huge value-
There is a recurring use case for the single-
CEOCFO: MediPines was recognized as a Top 10 Patient Monitoring Solutions Provider in 2020 by MD Tech Review. What does that mean for you?
Mr. Lee: We are very delighted that we were recognized as a Top-
CEOCFO: What is your geographic reach currently; US only or global? Where is your market and do you see that changing?
Mr. Lee: Currently we are cleared for the US market and Health Canada approved us for COVID-
We want to eventually reach every region and every country because respiratory problems are global. We just happen to be focusing on North America because we are a young company.
CEOCFO: How are you reaching out to potential customers? Do you have your own sales staff or work with distributors?
Mr. Lee: Currently we have a direct sales team reaching out to hospital marketplace. As we grow, we will be exploring various channels of distribution.
CEOCFO: Are you currently funded for growth or will you be reaching out to investors, partners or distributors?
Mr. Lee: We are financially healthy and have strong commitment from our investors. As our business enters the high growth phase, driven by a strong interest and rapid adoption by the medical community, we will be evaluating additional growth financing options. Potential future financing options under consideration include individual and strategic investment as well as bank financing, venture debt, and private credit.
CEOCFO: In closing, why is MediPines important to the future of healthcare and patient care?
Mr. Lee: Respiratory advancement is the key to better human health and managing our future healthcare burden. If we can make improvements in advancing respiratory medicine, this could be one important step to solving a looming healthcare crisis. The success of private sector efforts, like MediPines, could also tell how well we are going to manage our way out of the looming healthcare crisis. Right now, US healthcare consumes 18% of the national GDP. That is $3.8 trillion a year, a staggering number, a substantial economic burden to any society. Medical technology and innovation, I believe, can play an important role in this area. Leveraging the AGM100 can provide 60 times the operating advantage to any hospital provider, compared to the closest alternatives with far fewer resources.
As we provide better care, faster and at lower costs, more patients can be assessed and treated. Providers and society will benefit from the high efficiency achieved, and we can alter the course of healthcare for the better through superior technological innovation. The COVID-
There are some great developments on the vaccine front, but respiratory viruses will continually evolve and raise prospects for future pandemics. Therefore, the continuous research and development in the respiratory field is a vitally important topic for all of us. We are hoping that novel and efficient technologies, like the MediPines AGM100, which I believe is a life-
MediPines | Steve Lee | Respiratory Monitoring Devices | Pulmonary Gas Exchange Test, MediPines is Revolutionizing Respiratory Medicine with their Non-
“Hospital providers that leveraged the AGM100 have reported dramatic results, such as reduced ICU admission rates. According to one Midwest provider, the hospitalized COVID-